Brian Conley has spoken out on the thrill of playing against type for his dark EastEnders role, which sees him portray a con man taking advantage of the generosity of a Walford icon.
He was first introduced as Terry Cant, the estranged father of Sonia Fowler (Natalie Cassidy), but a recent revelation exposed that he is actually Tom "Rocky" Cotton – a con man and identity thief.
The character is set to have a major role in this year's EastEnders Christmas episodes, finding himself in over his head as he's invited to spend the festive season with Sonia and Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth).
As the storyline picks up momentum, Conley has revealed that he's relishing the opportunity to play a role so far removed from his public persona as a comedian and entertainer.
"We kept it quiet I was Tom Cotton," he began. "When it came out the internet lit up and I loved it! I love that there's a bit of darkness there. Everyone knows me as a comedian and entertainer, everyone assumes ‘he’s funny, that’s it, that’s Rocky’, but I would go darker."
Conley continued: "It’s a lot easier being dark. If you come into a room being happy and fun and doing quips, you’ve got to get a feel of the place and have your comedic timing.
"If you come in evil, you haven’t got to do anything; just come in, deep voice, 'Shaaaat up!' It’s a lot easier to act that than being funny."
When he was initially cast in the role – then thought to be Terry Cant – EastEnders executive producer Jon Sen praised Conley's "charm, wit and charisma" as a reason for his casting, suggesting the writers wanted to throw viewers off the scent of this major twist.